It’s always worthwhile to dwell on your own mortality. As slaves to the human condition, we spend so much of our time completely self-absorbed in our petty problems and trivial trials that most of us lose sight of the bigger picture. Endlessly it seems, most people forget that they are ephemeral. Like the meat we eat, the natural resources we deplete and the environment we contaminate, we forget that we too will expire, rot, dematerialise and be forgotten by an indifferent, accelerating universe.
Body Void’s Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, not only reminds us of our cosmic insignificance but taunts our unfounded egos, berating us that we could have believed that we were destined for greater things at the cost of a world that sustains and houses us in an unforgiving cosmos. Humans are a blemish on the face of the planet; on their newest record Eddy Holgerson and Willow Ryan are happy to offer a poignant reminder to that fact.
Since 2016, drummer Holgerson and guitarist Ryan have been punishing eardrums with blackened sludge rooted in hardcore and punk ethics. Under the moniker of Body Void, they are no strangers to transcendent thinking; each release a complexity of concepts that range from the unconscious world, the eternal inertia of the cosmos that surrounds us, to the prison that is the mind.
In 2018, I Live Inside A Burning House left the listener pondering the body’s place in space and time, and its ultimate end. Body Void are committed to humbling the listener to the vastness of the space that surrounds them, pledged to act as a reminder of their irrelevance within the expanse. Their third album, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, released on the eclectic Prosthetic Records, once more calls upon the listener to remember that they are nothing more than the dirt they pollute.
Wound is an opener that hurts. Amongst a wall of distortion and deafening percussion, Ryan’s disparate screech forwards ecological criticism on contemporary capitalism – ‘Capital’s worship of idols with no past, Consume the world with force, The cannibal flays the skin of family, Sells it back for more’. Here we see a snide toward a system’s use of environmental resources at the cost of its own people that unknowingly become its market and consumer-base. This is musical protest in its most hateful and rawest form. The anger that Body Void have here mustered reflect the primeval themes of Bury Me…
A new addition to the recording process, bass and harsh noise is offered by Entresol. His contribution of harsh electronics adds to the primitive atmosphere that Holgerson and Ryan create, leaving the listener feeling as if they are stuck beneath the churning earth, caught between the tectonic plates they cared little for since their creation. Straight away, Bury Me… proves itself a monster.
Body Void have contributed heavily to the marriage of hardcore and sludge…
Body Void have always exquisitely blended aesthetic with sound. The latter is an expressive representation of their visual art and vice versa. From simply reading the song title Laying Down In A Forest Fire you can feel the heat of the flames surround you, hear the friction and feel the grate of the rugged earth beneath you. Creating a contradiction of claustrophobia and agoraphobia, Ryan and Entresol let notes hang in mid-air leaving an empty chasm of sound that is eventually filled by Holgerson’s repetitive hammering.
Silence is filled with a menacing bassline that allows the track to soar to a simile of contemporary American black metal until it crashes spiralling into a riff that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to the more groove-laden ends of Noothgrush. Keeping in mind that Body Void’s objective is to create confrontational (and at times alienating) music, Bury Me… is surprisingly catchy.
Fawn feels like the hangover from Forest Fire. Entresol’s primordial noise lingers and loops from one song to the next. Omnipresent, he creates a filter of filth throughout the entirety of the album. Cryptic lyrics are once again the centre of Body Void’s attack – ‘A phantom head, The corpse of a fawn, You try to ignore it, It will replace you.’
An unseen element manifests behind Fawn: a reminder that we are everything that is around us and that everything around us allows us to be. Even though we consistently exploit our own habitat, Fawn is an allegorical representation of an earth that will humbly outlive us all. All that Body Void wish to do is promulgate the theme of eternity in the face of nature. Nature will eventually replace us; a concept that humans are ignorant of in their present form.
Perhaps what separates Body Void from other sludge bands are Ryan’s vocals. My only comparisons are the bitter shrieks of The Body’s Chip King and Moloch’s Chris Braddock. Ryan’s voice communicates some of the sincerest renditions of violence and desperation I’ve ever heard.
This is poignant throughout the concluding Pale Man. A blazing analysis of white supremacy, America’s history of racial violence and a declaration of disgust at a nation’s foundation on enslavement, Pale Man is at once retrospective and at the same time a scathing evaluation of white capitalism and western control over resources – ‘The pale man will come, He asks for spare change, Hide the world’s wealth away, To keep him warm on a summer day.’
Body Void have contributed heavily to the marriage of hardcore and sludge. Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth is philosophical, eloquent, yet hateful and condemning. This is the audible reflection of a world that needs to saved from itself. More accessible than their previous materials, this is perhaps a good thing due to the powerful message they present. More urgent than ever, check it out on Prosthetic Records today.
Scribed by: Mark Louth